Redhead Baby Mama | Atlanta Mom Blogger

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why eShakti Can't Actually Customize Dresses...

Thank you to eShakti for providing a garment for review.  As you will see, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  Affiliate links may be used.

I have very good body image. I know that I'm not perfect, but I eat better than I used to (even as of 3 years ago) and I'm at the most active point in my life.  With a little hard work and acceptance of my genetics, I can find a lot of outfits that fit and flatter.  But, sometimes even this is a challenge.  When I was approached by Eshakti to review a customized garment with specific measurements, I jumped on that bandwagon fast.  I became really excited because I have a real person's body, not a model's body. I'm short, with huge hips and a super short waist. The idea of customizing a dress to my measurements is really attractive, so naturally I was anticipating my shipment.  

I chose sleeveless trapeze dress, which is a dress silhouette made famous in the 60s and 80s, fitting the shoulders and bust, and having a drastic A-line swing at the hem.  this dress even had a ruffle at the bottom, adding to the hem width.  It's a free-hanging silhouette, and therefore one of the most forgiving for hippy gals like myself.  You'll notice a series of measurements that I provided the company, along with hem and sleeve requests.  But I was surprised that the only vertical measurements they asked for were my arms and my height.  
eShakti doesn't' really get the correct measurements from you. Hear why this company can't really customize anyhing for your body...
As a costume designer, I was dumbfounded.  If you find another person that is the exact same height as you, chances are that your waists are not in the same spot.  Neither are your boobs, your knees,  or even your rib cage.  That's what makes us different, and vertical measurements matter just as much as horizontal measurements (hips, bust, waist) in garment construction.  This is another reason that I chose a free-hanging dress rather than a tailored piece.  Because these eShakti dresses really aren't tailored...

When the box arrived, I ripped it out of the shipping container and slapped it on. My fears were confirmed.  This picture of the unaltered upper torso shows you what I meant. See my undergarments in the armseye? You could fit a small dog in there.  Also, the bust line is precariously low.  Not to mention that even though I provided my bust measurement, I had to take in the side FOUR INCHES and there was still room to move.  I even took in the shoulder straps 1" each to lift the armseye and the bust line.  This, in turn, also took up the hem to the ACTUAL knee line that I requested.  Again, how can you create the right hemline if you don't ask for a nape to knee measurement?!  I don't get it...
eShakti doesn't' really get the correct measurements from you. Hear why this company can't really customize anyhing for your body...
But if you're reading this, saying, "But Lindsey.. you chose a free flowing garment - of course it doesn't fit!" listen to this: The lining underneath the paisley cotton was a closer fit than the shell, and still didn't fit properly. The hipline may be free flowing, but the top shell of the dress was way too big.  Had I taken a chance and ordered something with an actual waistline and skirt, the torso would have still been too big and billowy because of where the waistline was supposed to sit. So, I actually saved myself some larger alterations.  
 Now, please know that the cottons used to make the dress were very nice. The fabrics were soft and the construction was just fine. No loose threads, lingerie straps for bras (which were rendered useless after my alteration) and even serging all the way around.  The tag was majorly itchy, so that sucker got cut out of the lining seconds after this photo...
 Now, once I altered the dress to actually fit my body (which gets rid of any customization factor the company offers), I added my jean jacket to help reign in all the fabric and tossed on a pair of my favorite Lucchese western boots.  My black leather clutch, bangle and some jewelry rounded out the outfit for a summer to fall transition look, which is perfect for Atlanta this time of year. 
Summer to Fall transition look with cowboy boots and paisley trapeze dress
 My outfit additions are extremely comfortable, old standby items that I know make me feel good and matched the dress very well.  Even Hubs made a comment about how the finished the look was, and snapped a few photos for us on our date night.  After the disappointment of having to alter an already customized dress, that made me feel pretty awesome.  
Summer to fall transition look with paisley trapeze dress and Lucchese cowboy boots
Eshakti has been campaigning: Real Fashion for Real People, which is a really admirable slogan, but since I'm a real person, and the customization factor isn't REALLY good, I'm a little disappointed.  I don't think I'll be ordering from eShakti until they step up their measurement process.  Tall folks, as well as short kids, will find that the process is lacking, even though you can choose sleeves, colors and accents.  If you're marketing a customized, measured dress, you'd better be sure that it fits!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

It's Fall, ya'll! And before you shoot off complaining that everything's made of pumpkin nowadays (and really... isn't it?!) like lattes, pancakes, turnovers and the old fashioned pie, I want you to try something for me.  Make this bread. I'm begging you.  Hit the store, use what you have in your pantry and make it.  Because your mouth will thank you. With the mass of mini chocolate chips and the lemon glaze, even pumpkin haters like this bread, because it's SO moist, flavorful and belly-warming.  

Red, who is the pickiest eater on the planet, even asked for his own slice after I forced asked him to try a bite.  When Hubs found out he couldn't eat the SECOND loaf I  made because I wanted to photograph it, be went to bed super bummed.  So please: try making this awesomeness for yourself, because I'm pretty sure scratch-and-sniff internet hasn't been invented yet.
A little pumpkin, a little cinnamon, and a heaping of mini chocolate chips give this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread it's perfect flavor. Add a light sugar lemon glaze and dig in!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread slices, perfect for the fall season and a sweet addition to breakfast!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups organic unbleached sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup water
1 cup melted coconut oil
2 cups canned pumpkin puree (make sure it's plain, NOT pumpkin pie puree)
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Glaze:
powdered sugar
milk
lemon juice 

Directions: 
Preheat Oven to 350° degrees.

Grease and flour (or use baking PAM) two small loaf pans.  
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, and set aside. 
Mix together wet ingredients in a bowl. 
Introduce dry ingredients to wet ingredients until well combined. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Fill greased pans about 3/4 full.
Bake large loaves for 1 hour, or until done.

Mix glaze ingredients to desired consistency. Whisk together at your discretion to create a thick, creamy drizzle.  The key is more sugar than anything else, so add your lemon and milk to thin it out.

Remove loaf from oven. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with glaze, slice and serve.
Make this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread for your house guests and the will swoon with delight!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Time I Escaped with my Mom

When I was a kid, my mom and Nana (my grandmother) used to escape together and globetrot. Sometimes it was for Nana's work, and other times, the trips were for pleasure.  They went to London, Australia, New York, Hawaii, Antarctica, the Baltic Islands and even a safari in South Africa.  I loved that they traveled together, and in the back of my mind, I thought Mom and I would do that one day.  Well, here I am, in my 30s and we still hadn't gone anywhere by ourselves.  

When I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to the #BeachesMoms Social Media on the Sand conference, I first asked Hubs to go with me.  But, Hubs knew he wouldn't be able to get off of work at this time of year, so he told me to take Mom.  It was brilliant! An excuse to take one of my favorite family members to the family conference... but instead of me bringing my kids, I was the kid!
 Mom and I took a billion photos, and she was a great sport, dressing up like a pirate for the pirate waterpark party, building sandcastles, and even taking a messy hair photo after our body scrubs as the spa (not pictured!! :) )
 We met Natasha (the awesomeness behind Iristocracy) in the shuttle line from the airport, and when I was we were all fast friends, I'm serious about it.  Natasha and Donna are identical souls, and I want to squeeze Natasha in a big hug every time I see her.  
 Mom and I ate, drank, visited the swim up bar, walked everywhere and were able to spend more time together than ever.  I had never been with just Mom for longer than a few hours since before my brother was born, and certainly never on vacation.  It was amazing, bonding, relaxing, and it makes me all verklempt when I think about it. 
 We laughed about her "talking rock" which were neatly placed speakers in the bushes that played one of her favorite songs every time we passed... and she made me take a photo of her on it :)  
 When the trip quickly came to an end, I was so happy.  I had worked, played, laughed, and best of all spent some amazing time with my mom.  We decided the tradition had to continue and were thinking about where we could go next.  Nashville? Savannah? It doesn't have to be far or fabulous just to spend time together.  
I can't wait to tell you more about the #BeachesMoms trip.  The amazing trip was life changing in more ways than one, and I'm super grateful to the entire team behind the trip.  If you were on Instagram this weekend, I'm sure you saw all  of the fun and trouble I was getting into.  And buddy, do I have some news about that Instagram Scavenger Hunt I was a part of... come back tomorrow morning to hear all the good news!! :) 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cirque du Soleil's #Amaluna visits Atlanta

They're back - those spiraling, reaching tent posts that signal the arrival of Cirque du Soleil to Atlantic Station in downtown Atlanta. The new Amaluna show first premiered in Montreal on April 19, 2012, traveling from Canada to the United States for 2013. Hubs and I took a little date to see the company perform, and it was spectacular!

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2014, Cirque du Soleil brings a new show to Atlanta! Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Amaluna's Tony Award-winning Show Director, Diane Paulus, drew from a series of classical influences when creating the concept of the show; including tales from Greek and Norse mythology, Mozart's The Magic Flute, and Shakespeare's The Tempest. Now playing under the famed blue-and-yellow Big Top at Atlantic Station…with great seats as low as $35!

Cirque describes their performance in a press release: Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses. Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter’s coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honours femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next.  In the wake of a storm, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony.
Fast facts for the Amaluna show:
• Amaluna marks Diane Paulus’ first collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, a renowned theatre director from New York. 
• For the first time at Cirque du Soleil, the cast of a show is 70% female and the band, 100%.
• All 120 of the cast and crew represent a total of 17 countries.
• Additionally touring with the cast and crew a grand total of 145 on the road!
• The Water-bowl is 5’5” tall, 7’3” in diameter, and weighs 5,500 lbs when filled with water.
What resonated with me about the show were the costumes (of course!)  From the Cirque company: Amaluna costume designer Mérédith Caron has brought a company of fabulous and eclectic characters to life through the magic of her creations. She imagined the world of the show – the mysterious island of Amaluna – as existing somewhere in the Mediterranean as a true meeting place between East and West, a distant land where ancient and modern times overlap and blend harmoniously, and several different eras and cultures have seemingly melded into the same location.
Be sure to catch up with Cirque and Amaluna via social media: Twitter (also #Amaluna), Facebook and Instagram are all reachable outlets, and you'll have fun seeing all the cast members liking your posts!! Experience Amaluna from Cirque du Soleil, now playing under the iconic blue and yellow big top at Atlantic Station. Save 20% on a Family 4 Pack and take an adventure to an island governed by goddesses. CLICK HERE and buy your tickets today.

And in a super awesome, lady-power filled move, Cirque is giving away a set of FOUR tickets to the show on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014. SHowtime is 7:30pm, sharp at the Atlantic Station tent (park in the garage) in Atlanta, GA. Enter using the rafflecopter below. 18 and up, US only. Void where prohibited. The tickets are ONLY good for the November 5th show. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Off to Beaches Resorts with #BeachesMoms Social Media on the Sand Conference

Alright, ya'll. I'm not sure why I've been keeping it under my hat, but I suppose I've had a LOT of work lately and I haven't been able to really concentrate on my upcoming fun (which is still technically work, but whatevs...).  But now I'm on a plane, and the first rule of being on a plane? 
Today, I'm headed to a part of the Caribbean that I've never been to before - Turks and Caicos - home to a Beaches Family Resort where I will be spending a few days with my awesome Mom at the Social Media on the Sand Conference. I'll be tweaking my social media skills with some top bloggers (how did I get invited?!?! Shhh.... I'll just roll with it before anyone notices!!!) while I stick my toes into some white Caribbean Sand. 

When I was little, my Mom and Nana went on so many trip together. London, Australia, Hawaii and recently, the Baltic Island and Antarctica.  This marks my very first trip with only my Mom, and I'm pretty stoked about it.  Sure will make for an epic Mommy and Me Monday post! 

But besides all the fun and media action, there's some social good on the trip.  The Sandals Foundation (yes, like the couple's resorts) is doing some good and I want to share their work. They have built a few schools for children in need in the Caribbean, and they have asked us to bring as many school supplies and backpacks as we can cram into our suitcases. I brought TWO suitcases, one with supplies!! The Sandals Foundation is 100% non-profit, since it's funded by the Sandals and Beaches Resorts - that means EVERYTHING you donate goes to the schools. Karen of In the Kitchen with KP did better than I ever could at explaining the Sandals Foundation and all the good that it does! 

And the other awsome bloggers that are going with me? Check out Julie, of Balancing Mama as she wrote a fabulous little post about leaving her little one to get herself some R&R and fun at beaches!  Maria of Mamalicious Maria shares her sentiment about going kid-less on her trip with her husband!  
I'm super excited, so follow #BeachesMoms on all social outlets to keep up with the fun, or follow me on Instagram.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If You Can't Find It, Design It! ...with Wayfair.com

Wayfair.com has generously sponored this post.   All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.

When Hubs and I first got married, our furniture was a hodge podge of college hand-me-downs, rejects from our parent's house, goodwill finds and just plain ugliness.  The only saving grace was a GORGEOUS, giant sofa that my Nana purchased for our wedding gift (Thank you, Nana!!).  It's still the statement piece for our den, and the piece that gets the most comments.  But seeing that it's the only thing we love, I'm constantly looking for matching pieces or complimentary chairs to complete my room... the search is endless...  If I could only find a chair in the right shape, a fabulous color and a few throw pillows to accent it, everything would be perfect.  

But, it's really hard for my brain to design a piece of furniture and not be able to find it because no one makes it.  Or, to find a chair that doesn't come in the color scheme that I need.  It's really frustrating for a designer's brain.  When I was told about the new custom upholstery section of Wayfair.com, it was a load off my mind.  They have just launched a new line of custom upholstered furniture, including sofas, ottomans, chairs, and more. So, you can imagine that I was really eager to see if I could find something for my comfy den!
Wayfair has a lot of collections to customize, including the popular Brooke, and Josephine pieces.  You can browse here to see all the different furniture styles that are available. When I first checked out the collections, what I really liked was the classic pieces that could live in my house for years and remain stylish, but still feeling trendy and update-able and fitting into several different categories of decor. 

I happen to be crushing on the Josephine armchair and Ottoman - it's the perfect rounded-edge and casual formality for my craftsman style furniture.  Even better? I can see it in all the swatches Wayfair.com has to offer.  I can even take a closeup look at all the fabrics by selecting the "View Swatches" tab under the small images.
wayfair.com custom upholstry furniture - Josephine Chair and Ottoman
When you click on that, a popup window appears, with awesome, textural closeups of your fabrics.  After much perusal, I selected Lizzy Surf, Lizzy Graphite, Bevin Rain, and Hilo Seagull and ordered my swatches by clicking the button.  Easy... and best of all? No charge.  I know some other design firms charge up to $3 for a swatch!
Wayfair.com; Order custom upholstery swatches for FREE
I got a personalized thank you email from an actual HUMAN after ordering the swatches, which I thought was really impressive. No auto-bots that I saw for Wayfair.com's Custom program.  The swatches arrived less than two weeks later and were fairly large.  5" squares with nice little labels on the backside detailing  the fiber content, color name and texture weave.  It's invaluable to be able to compare these swatches to my leathers, wall colors and existing fabrics.  
Wayfair.com Custom Upholstery Program Fabric Swatches
To celebrate the new custom options, Wayfair.com is holding a quiet little sale to kick off the campaign! You can use this exclusive promo code WFCustom10 from October 16th to October 20th for a percentage off your purchase. It's nowhere on social media or other sites, so be sure use it during the sale!  This makes me want to throw that Josephine Ottoman in there with the chair. More savings!!

Take a peek at all of Wayfair's custom offerings and let me know what piece you'd love to customize! It just might be during this promo code period that I snag my new den chair..
Pin It button on image hover